The power of the neighborhood: Perceived normative behaviors moderate individual predictors of walking and biking to school

Allison Ross, Kylie Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Parent attitudes and perceptions of convenience are primary determinants of children's mode of school travel. Parents may favor the use of active transportation to school, such as walking or biking, if supportive neighborhood normative behaviors are present. Methods: A series of logistic regressions with marginal effects were conducted to investigate whether seeing others, talking or waving, seeing kids walk alone, or seeing kids walk with adults along the way to school modified the impact of parent attitudes and reported ease of driving a car on active school travel among parents of children in grades K-6 (N = 390) in Phoenix, AZ (USA). Results: The likelihood of using active transportation to school was positively associated with favorable parent attitudes, and the odds of using active travel modes differed less than 10% with the presence of neighborhood normative behaviors and low or high attitudes. As reported ease of driving increased, the likelihood of using active transportation to school decreased. The presence of neighborhood norms did not change the negative trajectory, but differences existed when ease of driving was low compared to high. The probability of using active transportation to school when ease of driving was low compared to high was greater when participants saw others (29.3%to, 32.8%from), talked/waved to others (11.0%to, 0%from), saw kids walking alone (28.6%to, 35.7%from), and saw kids walking with adults (27.8%to, 51.5%from). Conclusions: Echoing prior work, parent attitudes and perceptions of convenience of driving remain influential determinants of children's active school travel behavior. This study provides preliminary evidence on the influences of psychosocial support within the neighborhood to promote active transportation to school. The impact of supportive normative behaviors during the school journey should be considered in active transportation to school interventions, particularly in conjunction with efforts to change parent perceptions of ease of driving.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101236
JournalJournal of Transport and Health
Volume22
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Keywords

  • Active transportation to school
  • Driving convenience
  • Neighborhood
  • Normative behaviors
  • Parent attitudes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Transportation
  • Pollution
  • Safety Research
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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